Publishing Peace

During the course of the exile of the Jews in Babylon, one of the greatest of their seers, often known as "The Prophet of Consolation" from his words of comfort and encouragement (cf. Isa. 40:1), uttered the fervent cry, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation" (Isa. 52:7). Living in captivity in a foreign land, surrounded by evidences of idolatrous worship (Isa. 44:9–18), of blasphemy and oppression (52:5), he yet realized and affirmed the true sublimity and vital importance of the publication of peace and salvation, the more so at a time when to those less farsighted, peace and salvation must have seemed alike unattainable.

Now a study of the prophet's words, as originally recorded, shows them to be more significant and far-reaching than our Common Version might lead us to suppose, and this is particularly so with regard to the term "shalom," which is rendered "peace," for this word suggested to the Hebrews the thought not only of peace, but also of "completeness, soundness, welfare, health, prosperity, security, friendship" (Brown, Driver, Briggs: Hebrew Lexicon, p. 1022f.). What a wealth of meaning, then, is to be found in this single word! Realizing this, we can understand more readily why the prophet could see the exalted beauty and significance of the task of publishing peace.

January 6, 1940

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